Dear Diary, I love all the gifts and stuff this time of year, but I get really scared when it is time for me to open my gifts. When everybody is watching me….boy, I really feel scared. When I don’t know what is inside, I’m afraid I won’t like it and then what do I do? If I do like what is inside, I get so excited inside and say thank you so many times that other people kind of think I’m wierd.
To this day, as an adult adoptee, I still feel some of this. Many of us think we don’t deserve a gift. Many haven’t received gifts in the past. Many don’t know how to receive a gift. We wonder:
-Is our “thanks” going to be okay?
-Is everybody expecting me to be happy?
-We feel downright self-conscious.
Don’t ask me why….many do.
Parents, please remember this tendency and handle us with care, gentleness, and affirmations.
We adoptees get overwhelmed in a sensory way this time of the year.
We can’t stand a lot of “overload.”
My mom used to say, “You get wild.”
I thought I was just having lots of fun.
They didn’t know what to do with me, especially when I punched my fist through the door of the refrigerator! Or, when I scratched “I love you” messages on their fine wood dresser.
What can you do for your adopted child?
-Keep track of the tirggers for overload (smell, sound, touch)
-Don’t insist we sit on Santa’s lap. After all, his beard is so scratchy
-Realize at family gatherings we feel different in a yucky kind of way
-Keep things orderly at home. Too many un-finished piles of anything overwhelm us
Realize that “triggers” are to help you and your child realize that its time to make a new choice about how to react. They are not to be used as excuses for bad behavior. “I am like this because I was adopted.”
Make sure you have a spirit of calm about you.
If we get to overload, please go with us to another room where we can calm down.
We’re taking notes.
If you remain calm amidst chaos, we learn that we can, too!